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Preview: Lady Cats volleyball begins August 28

Even before the start of school you can hear the squeak of sneakers on the gym floor as the BCHS Lady Wildcat volleyball team gets ready for the start of its season on Aug. 28 versus Oakleaf.

The Lady Cats are digging, spiking and setting and getting used to working together as a team after the roster was picked by Coach Heather Sulkowski earlier this month. Sulkowski is encouraged by what she has seen so far.

“We have a very well-rounded team this season and our hitters are doing very well so we should have more fire power,” said Sulkowski.

One of the areas where they have needed improvement over last year is serving and they have been trying to rectify that.

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Junior all-star squad takes third place at state tournament

Baker County’s Junior All-Star squad recently completed its season with a strong showing at the Florida state finals in Fort Braden in Leon County. The local contingent of 13- and 14-year-olds was one of five teams to claim a berth in the state title round after advancing through tough district and sectionals.

The girls finished Baker County Junior Softball’s first-ever trip to the finals with a 2-2 record in the state bracket, earning the team a third place. They notched wins over St. Cloud (11-0) and Miami South Beach (10-4).

Coach P.J. Lefebvre had high praise for the team that clinched the North Florida Little League district 11 title with twin wins over Hilliard, including a dominating 32-3 rout.

After securing the Section Three title with a bye win, the local all-stars turned their attention to preparing for the five-team round robin state bracket. Coaches Lefebvre, Zary Alford, Taylor Jones, Tina Fraze and Steven Hancock drilled the team hard to ready it for the sweltering heat expected during the weekend tournament.

“Our girls were fire at the plate. As a team we had a .350 batting average, with seven players over .300 and both Melanie Sweat and Jesselynn Williams leading the way with averages over .500,” said Coach Lefebvre.

Ashton Alford was the team’s “go-to” slugger, driving in ten runs, while third base anchor Angel Jackson smacked two triples.

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Jefferson drawing attention

Wildcat football defensive end CeCe Jefferson has been getting a lot of attention over the summer. Jefferson, who was named a Freshman All-American last season, has been featured on a number of sports and recruiting websites such as MaxPreps, Scout.com and Rivals.com.

There is a consensus  the 6’3, 250 lb. defender is well on his way to being a top player if he can avoid injury and continue at a high level of play. Jefferson was one of the defensive stars for BCHS last season and has had seven Division 1 offers.

He attended the Will Muschamp Football Camp in June in Gainesville. He was impressive enough to be offered a UF scholarship at the end of camp. The upcoming sophomore will continue to weigh his options but currently has offers from Louisville, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, FSU, North Carolina and South Carolina as well as the Gators.

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Church volleyball league growing, tournament next month

Blake Rowan spikes the ball.The church volleyball league has been keeping local athletes busy all summer long with good competition and fellowship. The league started play in early June and has been going strong despite having to dodge around adverse weather conditions.

There are two important tournaments coming up in the next couple of weeks that will help determine the winners for the summer league.

The youth will compete on Aug. 2 and 3 and the adults tip off on Aug 6-10.

The league is split into two divisions, leisure and competitive, with teams for youth and adults.

This season there are 11 competitive teams. First Baptist Church of Glen St. Mary  and Raiford Road each field three teams. First Baptist of Macclenny has two teams and there are others from Christian Fellowship Temple, Destiny’s People and Sanderson Christian Revival Center.

The leisure division is larger with teams from churches around the entire county.

“The adult leisure is so large we had to split it in two this year,” said Missy Whitehead, who organizes the league. “We estimate that we’ve got around 580 people playing in the different leagues.”

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